At our most recent Women in Leadership Group meeting, we were lucky enough to have a panel of women discuss mentoring, leading and owning your voice.  I want to thank Michele Gossmeyer, Joy Rush, Jennifer Schwartz, and Brie Leung for sharing their knowledge and passion for women in the workplace.  I would also like to take the time to thank Dentons for hosting our meeting.

Michele kicked off the meeting discussing what it is to be a mentor. A mentor is not a sponsor; it’s someone that you can rely on, be vulnerable with and build a relationship with throughout the years.  When it comes to selecting the right mentor, it must be someone that you respect, can get along with, and can be your true self with.  Mentors will be there to help guide you through the good and the bad. Michele stated, “a mentor will always give open and honest feedback, and that feedback is a gift.”  Joy stated, “Women have a hard time asking things for themselves, your mentor will help guide you.”

This led to another discussion, how to lead by example in and out of the workplace.  We talked about how the role you play in a company must be deliberate. It must match the role you play in the organization in order to get respect as a leader. When in this role, many women constantly worry about being fair. They worry about their leadership skills and feel that they must treat everyone equally.  Brie stated, “You can’t treat everyone; equally, everyone has different needs. As long as it’s fair, it doesn’t have to be equal.”

Lastly, the panelists touched on owning your voice.  We started by discussing Impostor Syndrome and the effects it has on several women in the workplace.  Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which someone will doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”  Brie talked about how women never want to be self-promoting, and have a hard time believing that they are good enough to be in that position. This way of thinking makes it very hard for those women to get into a power position and climb the corporate ladder.

Brie left us with five tips on owning your voice:

  1. Lead with a positive headline that shows a success.
  2. Lead with a TADA! We downplay success and achievements.
  3. Remove the word JUST! It’s a diminishing word.
  4. Don’t apologize, stop saying “I’m sorry.”
  5. Say thank you and don’t use time. Your time is just as important.

Jennifer added, “we have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

We always hope our members leave a meeting with a takeaway, a “golden nugget.”  Our panelists closed our session by sharing their own golden nugget.

Michele Gossmeyer: “When looking to grow work with your network and colleagues to build strength.”

Joy Rush: “Remember all these things are skills, you need to practice and cultivate yourself.”

Jennifer Schwartz: “We are all on the human journey together.  Everyone has their own struggles so what can you do for them. Interact, make connections and from that, you will see opportunity.”

Brie Leung: “Know your strengths they are your superpowers, use these to promote yourself.”

Thank you to those that attended the meeting, and we hope to see you next year. We will kick off our first Leadership meeting on January 11th. To learn more about Think IT click here. Have a wonderful holiday with friends and family and thank you for being part of Think IT.